Surrender and Connection to Being

We want to feel happy or in balance. We don’t want to be depressed or dissatisfied. But no matter what the content our present experience is, even if it’s depression, there’s no getting around the fact that even within that depression we are connected to the larger existence, to Being. If we are aware of this fact, well, the world is at our service.

But many of us are out of touch with this fact, so we have desires, such as the desire to be “happy” or “quiet” or “enlightened” or “balanced.” But it’s possible for human beings to get to the point where we naturally realize that these desires appear WITHIN something that is ALREADY present. The depression, the desire to be happy, etc., appears within a more fundamental context: the context is the feeling that we are already connected to Being. That connection to Being already exists before anything else. Thus in a healthy person it supersedes everything else. It’s a touchstone, a wellspring. It can be used to alleviate the desire for enlightenment or happiness. After all, those things are only ideas and desires, and they aren’t enlightenment or happiness!

But what does it mean to say these desires of wanting to be happy, etc., appear within the more fundamental context of Being? It means this: We are always immersed in the present moment. The present moment is the only thing we have control over, and no matter how things may be screwed up in our life story, no matter how bad the problems in our life, the present moment simply IS. Period. It’s not a problem, it IS. It is a solid, brute existence that we can shape in the immediate moment. We can make the right decision, NOW. The present moment is abundantly full, and we can be fully and consciously present in it.

How do we do this? We have the power in the present moment to put less emphasis on the content of our experience (e.g., our desire to be happy or enlightened). We have the power in the present moment to focus our attention and our awareness on the simple FACT THAT we experience the world–we flow–we are already connected to Being or the universe. How do we do this? One way is by letting go of the past, and not giving into worry about the future, and putting our attention in the Now only. Surrender. Let it all go. Once we truly realize this, then when depression arises, or a desire to be happy, quiet, or enlightened, it immediately falls away because through surrender we are convinced that we are “already there.” If we’re convinced that we’re “already there” then we are, in fact, “already there.”

We can become convinced that we are “already there” by realizing that our desire to be “enlightened” or “happy” itself is only an empty idea generated by those very desires. Once we realize this and surrender these desires, we ARE enlightened, or happy, or satisfied! Yes, this is question-begging and a bit like a dog chasing its own tail. If you realize this, welcome to the club.

Nevertheless, we can be awed by existence! It’s an amazing mystery that we are here and are connected to Being. What came “before” the Big Bang? It’s miraculous that we get the chance to exist, and to put less and less identity and attention on the passing forms and ideas and ego, and put more and more attention on simply letting go and surrendering in the present moment and experiencing that sheer fullness of existence, that connection with Being.

Awakened Heart

“The basic notion of lojong is that we can make friends with…what we see as ‘bad’. … At the same time, we could learn to be generous with what we cherish…If we begin to live in this way, something in us that may have been buried for a long time begins to ripen. … It’s called bodhichitta, or awakened heart.  It’s something that we already have but usually have not yet discovered.”

Pema Chodron (Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living)